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Hillary fights back, shows softer side

Johnston (Iowa), Dec. 18: Hillary Clinton has appealed to voters to appreciate her softer side, as she launched a fight-back for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

The former First Lady appeared at a community hall in Iowa, where the first votes in the primary phase of the election will be cast in two weeks’ time. She was accompanied by old friends and constituents who testified to her humane qualities.

After a marathon campaign lasting almost a year, Hillary has convinced voters she is capable of being President but has still not dispelled the impression of a somewhat cold, calculating woman. Barack Obama, who now leads her in Iowa, is by contrast all warmth, smiles and optimism. “I want you to know who I am outside the TV cameras, what I do when no one is listening or taking notes or recording,” she told the audience of 100 crammed into the hall in Johnston.

She introduced a childhood friend, Betsy Ebeling, who once guided a teenage Hillary Rodham along the corridors of their high school in Chicago when she removed her bottle-end spectacles because they made her self-conscious around boys.

Ebeling, who fought back tears as she described the woman she has known for 50 years, said: “This is a good, hard working friend; she is loyal to friends, she remembers them and she remembers their kids.”

Shannon Mallozzi told how the New York Senator had taken up her cause to demand Congressional funding for her young daughter’s rare brain disorder, hydrocephalus.

“My perception of her was media-cultivated. I thought she was a bit remote but I found she was nothing like that,” she said. The meeting was part of the five-day “99 County Tour” that will take Mrs Clinton or members of her family and friends to every county in Iowa, with the candidate doing much of her travelling by the so-called “Hill-a-copter”.

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